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Last edited 23 Feb 2021
Cranes have proven to be extremely useful tools across the world for a vast array of industrial jobs, ranging from theatrical production to mining. Routine tasks can be carried out by a crane whilst that same machine can perform extreme missions that no other equipment is capable of. A few examples of some more unusual applications are set out below.
If somebody said that a crane could hold a hotel inside it, it would probably seem incredible. But that is exactly what the Harlingen Harbour Crane serves as in Denmark. Once a Figee level luffing crane that was created in 1967, it was in use until 1996 to carry timber from Scandinavia and Russia. With a cabin situated 17m above the quay, the views across the waters are mesmerising. The jib arm also reaches 148 feet and can be seen from a distance. After the ownership of the crane changed in 2001, two years of construction transformed it into a hotel. The cabin is now known as “The Spider” and guests can rotate their room for a full panoramic view of the scenery.
Although a crane has never been put on another planet, NASA is getting closer and closer to turning that dream into a reality. The innovative creation is a lunar crane and is intended to lift heavy goods – but on other planets. NASA has combined composite materials in order to gain optimum mass-to-strength ratio and unlimited degrees of rotation. Now officially able to perform complicated lifting activities in difficult environments, the lunar crane will soon be the first-ever crane outside of our atmosphere – the plan is for it to be placed on Mars.
 Samson and Goliath
Cranes also come in pairs. None, however, come as large as Samson and Goliath. Situated in Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyards, Samson and Goliath are a set of twin shipbuilding gantry cranes. They have even become landmark structures of Queen’s Island as they dominate the skyline. Capable of lifting 840 tons up to 229 feet, the twins span a combined 920 feet. A dry dock conjoins the cranes at their bases, which measures a massive 1,824 feet x 305 feet. Queen’s Island has become a popular attraction with tourists flooding in to see the twins in the flesh.
Sweden was once famous for being home to the world’s largest gantry crane – the Kockums Crane. For many years this crane owned the skyline of the Kockums shipyard in Malmo. With a lift capacity of 1,500 tons, the crane measured at 450 feet tall and boasted a 2,300 foot rail length. However, in 2002, after being used to lift the foundations of the Oresund Bridge, the crane was dismantled by multiple barge-mounted cranes. The remains of the Kockums crane were sold to Hyundai Heavy Industries and relocated to Ulsan, South Korea.
The world’s largest mobile crane is a truck-mounted telescoping crane than can lift up to 1,330 tons. The Leibherr LTM 11200-91 has an eight-section telescopic boom with an eight-foot radius. Capable of performing tasks like no other, the crane has a lattice jib that adds an additional 79 feet by 413 feet to its already record-breaking vertical reach of 558 feet. This monstrous crane is often used for making wind turbines.
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